By Dipo Olowookere
Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, the Governor of Lagos State, inaugurated the Governing Board of the Office for Disability Affairs on Tuesday to manage the N500 million Disability Trust Fund.
The Governor expressed optimism that it would aid people living with disabilities in the state realize their dreams and live a more comfortable life.
Mr Ambode, who spoke at the Lagos House, Alausa, while inaugurating the Board, said it was in fulfilment of his administration’s promise to ensure that the affairs of people living with disabilities is managed by people passionate enough to show that there is ability in disability.
Describing the development as another milestone in his commitment to run an all-inclusive government, the Governor said the Board will, on behalf of the State Government, manage the affairs of people living with disabilities by issuing guidelines for their education, social development and welfare.
“The Board will also manage the Disability Trust Fund. In fulfilment of the promise I made on May 29th, 2016, this Fund has in its kitty today, N500m with a marching order to solicit from the public and other charitable organisations, additional support for its objectives.
“We could not have done otherwise, given the array of people with disabilities who possess requisite qualification, experience and character.
“In addition, we believe in their ability to manage the Disability Trust Fund more judiciously because they have a more personal understanding of the needs and situation of our less privileged people. This fund will give our brothers and sisters a needed boost to make a livelihood for themselves and a chance to fulfil their potentials,” the Governor said.
The Governor, however, assured that notwithstanding the N500million Trust Fund, people living with disabilities are still eligible to access the N25billion Employment Trust Fund (ETF).
Governor Ambode, while congratulating the members of the Board, tasked them to ensure that the principles of transparency, accountability, inclusiveness and fairness are observed in administering the Fund and coordinating all affairs concerning people living with disabilities.
“It is my belief that the fund should provide infrastructure and facilities required by needed parties to also complement the efforts of our administration,” he said.
Earlier, Commissioner for Youth and Social Development, Mrs Uzamat Akinbile-Yusuf, said that people living with disabilities have the same right as everyone else, noting that with proper planning, a person with special needs can have a more fulfilling, healthier and enjoyable life, hence the fulfilment of the Governor’s promise of the N500million fund to take care of people living with disabilities.
“This is an important step towards scaling up efforts to address disability inclusion and further strengthen the fact that social exclusion of persons living with disabilities is unacceptable in the face of economic and social progress in the state”, Akinbile-Yusuf said.
In his vote of assurance, Chairman of the Board of Trustee, Office For Disability Affairs, Dr. Oki Olabodunrin Waheed, thanked the Governor for reposing confidence in him and his team, just as he assured that they would discharge their duties conscientiously.
Other members of the Board are Leila Omawumi Atake, Rose Ekaete Mordi, Abdulwahab Matepo, Deaconess Adedoyin Beyioku-Alase, Dr Adebayo Adebukola Shehu, Biola Liadi, Bada Emmanuel Oladipupo, Hakeem Muri-Okunola, representing the Ministry of Youth and Social Development; and Dr Babatunde Awelenje.
We’re Yet to Receive Formal Report of Sylvester Oromoni’s Death—Police
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The Lagos State Police Command on Saturday night said it was yet to receive a formal report of the death of one Sylvester Oromoni, a 12-year-old student of Dowen College, Lekki, Lagos.
The death of Master Oromoni has been trending online for the past few days and the video of his painful death sparked reactions after it was reported that he was bullied in school and allegedly forced to swallow substances believed to have eventually killed.
The incident forced the Lagos State government to shut down the school indefinitely for investigation.
On Saturday night, the spokesman for the Lagos Police Command, Mr Adekunle Ajisebutu, a chief superintendent police (CSP), said though none of the parents or the school has formally filed a report on the matter, the command has swung into action to get to the root of the matter.
According to him, “the Commissioner of Police, upon hearing about it instantly, directed the Divisional Police Officer, Maroko Division under whose jurisdiction the place of incident is to immediately visit the school to carry out an initial investigation into the incident.”
“This directive has been carried out as an investigation into the case has since commenced. However, in view of the seriousness of the case, the Homicide Section of the State Criminal Investigation Department, Panti, has also been directed to take over the investigation of the case immediately,” he added.
“Members of the public, particularly the deceased’s bereaved parents, friends and relatives, are assured that the Lagos State Police Command has deployed all available human and material resources at its disposal to unravel the circumstances surrounding the sad and unfortunate incident,” the police image-maker for the command stated.
“While a diligent investigation is ongoing, members of the public are advised against taking the law into their own hands. They are also enjoined to refrain from comments that could jeopardize the investigation,” he appealed.
Concluding, Mr Ajisebutu said, “The Commissioner of Police, CP Hakeem Odumosu, while commiserating with the bereaved family, has equally assured that the outcome of police investigation would be made public in due course.”
Adisa Receives Media Friendly State Lawmaker Award
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
For his contributions to the infrastructural development of his constituency and outstanding achievements as a lawmaker, the member representing Afijio constituency in the Oyo State House of Assembly, Mr Seyi Adisa, has been given the Media Friendly State Lawmaker Award.
The award was conferred on the state legislator by the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Oyo State Council during its press week at the Press Centre, Iyaganku, Ibadan.
Chairman of the NUJ Oyo chapter, Mr Demola Babalola, disclosed that the award was in recognition of Mr Adisa’s outstanding performance as a lawmaker, who has excelled in his calling as well contributed to the development of society.
He said his contributions to the development of his people, communities in his constituency and his senatorial district of Oyo North are laudable.
“You are given this special award of exemplary performance and also awarded as the Media-Friendly State Lawmaker of the Year in Oyo state because we believe you deserve it,” he said.
While receiving the award, Mr Adisa declared his appreciation of the gesture, saying “big thanks to the Oyo State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) for this special recognition and Award of Exemplary Performance that also doubled as an Award for the Media-Friendly State Lawmaker of the Year.
“I do not take this for granted.”
We Will Defend Free Press in Nigeria—US Government Assures
By Adedapo Adesanya
The United States government has promised to do everything possible to defend free press in Nigeria, which it said remains vital to democracy and good governance.
The American government expressed this with a partnership, through its Embassy, with the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) for the first of the six media-focused Town Halls and Workshops in Lagos on Thursday.
The event will also take place across the country in the next several months.
The capacity-building programme will provide a forum for over 200 participating Nigerian editors and leaders of the independent press to discuss and share best practices and to also hear from the United States government.
Experts on topics such as journalistic standards, identifying bias, and conducting fact-based investigative reporting to better inform the Nigerian public will be provided.
Delivering keynote remarks at the opening programme in Lagos, the US Ambassador, Mrs Mary Beth Leonard discussed the challenges faced by Nigeria and other democracies across the world and highlighted democracy’s greatest strength: the ability to improve upon and reinvent itself.
She quipped that when belief in democracy, good governance and elections are restored, Nigerians will want to be a part of that system and will defend it.
Ambassador Leonard noted, “Our hope is that in this forum today is that you will lead and serve as catalysts for further discussions on countering disinformation; increasing transparency; solution building; and encouraging media literacy and their contribution to a democracy that is accountable to its people.”
The US government is committed to initiatives that build media capacity in Nigeria, she added.
According to her, for years, the US Mission has funded partnerships that promote Nigeria’s democratic governance, unity and stability by improving government transparency and accountability, the rule of law, free and professional media, as well as civil society capacity and engagement.
On his part, the General Secretary of NGE, Mr Iyobosa Uwugiaren, said, “At the end of the project, we expect to see a pool of Nigerian editors, senior journalists and media managers, who will be galvanised and committed to the highest ethical standard and to take robust actions towards this.
“Editors who will be committed to the promotion and protection of the right to an independent press, freedom of expression and deepening democratic space; and constantly projecting issue-based governance in defence of the mass of the Nigerian people.”
The Town Halls and editor workshops are supported through a grant from the US Embassy’s Public Affairs Section in Abuja to the NGE.
In addition to Lagos, the programmes will take place in Kano in January 2022, then Yola, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Enugu will follow in subsequent months.
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